Driver feedback might seem like “admin” but it is a great skill to develop. The performance potential of your car is completely linked to how confident you feel behind the wheel. Good driver feedback is you recording what you feel your car is doing on track. The better you can record your feelings, the simpler it will be to make your track car faster. Plus, simply the act of you doing driver feedback, will help you improve as a driver.
Whilst breaking each corner down into entry, mid and exits phases can help you level-up your driver feedback, it is getting started with note taking that can be the hardest part.
This article gives you an easy process to follow – including suggested questions to ask yourself and real examples notes to reference – in order to help you begin to do driver feedback.
Firstly, Your Opinion Matters
Despite what you may have been told – and, no matter how good, or not, you feel you are as a driver – your feelings on the car are important.
You do not need to be pro driver. Nor do you need to be an engineer – or even speak engineer – to be able to give driver feedback.
In fact, often it can even help if you don’t know much about setup or engineering a racecar. Why? Because you are then less likely to jump to solutions too soon.
At first you are not going to be able to give the same clarity as a driver who’s been giving driver feedback for years – and that is ok.
Yes, it might be intimidating to express your views – or seem odd if you’re on your own – but driver feedback is a skill you can – and should – develop.
Even if no-one reads your notes, the act of writing them out will make you think about your driving. Making you think will make you a better driver.
Think of developing your driver feedback skills as you taking the next step in levelling-up your track driving ability.
Driver Feedback Tips From Guests On The Podcast
The best drivers in the world are great at giving driver feedback. Don’t believe me? Take a listen to what some of my guests on the podcast have to say about it. Try this episode with F1 Engineer Dave Devine and jump right to the driver feedback discussion at about 17 mins. Another being pro racing driver Matt Neal – who has over 300 professional touring car races under his belt – is obsessed with note taking. Jump to 23mins and 25 seconds in his show to learn all about his perspective and approach.
Getting Started With Driver Feedback
Next time you are at the track or on your sim, try this easy process.
You are going to run 5 laps, come back in and write out your thoughts. Here is how:
1 – Pre-Session Brief and Preparation
- Get a blank notepad, pen and track map with the name of the corners on it ready for when you finish.
- Now imagine that I’ve asked you to tell me how the car feels in the slow speed corners.
- Head out the pits for 5 fast laps.
2- Whilst Driving On Track
- As you are going round, the tyres will start to warm up and your grip will improve.
- Consider how does the car feel to you?
- Keep this simple:
- The car will either be easy to slow down or not.
- It will either turn how you want or not.
- And it will enable you to get back on the throttle quickly, nor not.
Remember this is not an engineering exercise. Ask yourself feel-based questions like these:
- Are you confident on the brakes? How does the car feel – stable or nervous?
- When you first turn the steering, does the car turn sharply or is it lazy? Can you easily get to the apex or are you putting in more steering that you’d like?
- Can you get back on the throttle quickly or is there something preventing you. For example, do you feel the car would understeer or oversteer as you’re getting back on the throttle?
3- Record Your Feelings As Driver Feedback
- When you have completed your 5 laps, come back in.
- Do not talk to anyone.
- Talking to someone will burst your bubble of thoughts – and you’ll never get them back.
- Get your notepad and track map on your lap and get writing – ideally when you are still in the car like this:
Write it when you are still in the car
- Ask yourself: What one thing would you need to go faster?
- Write out ANYTHING that comes to mind.
- Although try to hold yourself back from documenting reasons why you think something is one way or another.
- Focus on what you feel first.
- What can you remember the car doing?
- And, from my challenge above, write out how does your car feel through the slow speed corners?
Real Example Of This Kind Of Driver Feedback
Below you can see a real example of this kind of notes based driver feedback:
Forgive me if you can’t read my writing! … feel free to sign-up below and I’ll happily explain anything that isn’t clear ?
Things to consider from this example.
- Organise your notes with references. Over multiple runs your notes rapidly get out of hand. I’ve therefore added “Run 2” and the time “11 – 15” on these notes to help coordinate with the other data that was being gathered.
- Write good things too, like “cockpit feels great” as well as your challenges “push on throttle”
- Use drawings. At the bottom, I’ve tried to quantify the amount of understeer I feel the car has with these settings, and where I’d like it to go.
- Have a track map handy for the corner names. I had a track map separately held so I could quickly identify the corner names “Redgate” for example.
- What is the one thing holding you back? The one thing holding me back here is “Not full throttle through Craner [curves], but [feel I] could”
The message when you are getting started with driver feedback is to keep it simple.
With these prompts and examples I hope you are now able start doing driver feedback with a little more direction and confidence.
Remember the goal is not to be coming up with ideas for how to fix things.
Driver feedback is you recording what you feel is going on.
Record what you feel about how the car behaves. And what you feel is holding you back.
Get it all out of your head, and get into how-to-fix-it solutions afterwards.
Give it a go.
Better still, sign-up below to never miss my latest content and let me know how it goes. ?
Oh, and if you are curious, yes, by the end of the day I was flat through the Craner Curves!